Padden introduces parental-notification bill

Bill supporters to gather tomorrow at 37th annual March for Life in Olympia

March for Life Rally at the Capitol in Olympia January 21, 2014.

Calling it a common-sense measure to respect the rights of parents, Sen. Mike Padden today announced legislation to require that an underage girl’s parent or guardian be notified before she may have an abortion.

Padden, R-Spokane Valley, plans to discuss Senate Bill 5289 at the 37th annual March for Life rally, which will begin at noon Tuesday at the Capitol in Olympia.

“While I strongly believe that we have an obligation to support the inherent human dignity of all, that is not primarily what this bill is about,” said Padden. “The parental-notification bill would not prohibit an underage girl from having an abortion; it would simply give her parent or guardian the chance to talk with her ahead of time, or get ready to care for her afterward.

“The law recognizes in nearly every instance – from giving an aspirin at school to piercing ears – that parents have a responsibility and a right to be informed about medical procedures performed on their children.”

SB 5289 would prohibit any person from performing an abortion on a pregnant minor unless that person has given at least 48 hours’ actual notice to one parent or the legal guardian of the pregnant minor. It would not require notice if the attending physician certifies that there is a time-sensitive medical emergency, if the parent or guardian waives their right to notice or if the need for notice is waived by a court.

A 2013 poll commissioned by Human Life of Washington and conducted by Portland-based Moore Information found that 65 percent of those responding statewide were in favor of parental notification, and 77 percent in eastern Washington supported the policy.

A national Marist poll found that 80 percent of Americans support notification of the parents for underage children considering an abortion.

“On this issue, state laws are out of touch with the desires of a majority of Washingtonians, who overwhelmingly support parents being notified of their minor child going through this serious medical procedure,” said Padden.

“As lawmakers we have an opportunity to pass a bill with broad, bipartisan public support that will respect and support the rights of parents to be informed about the well-being of their child.”